Paul Clarke MCIOB
In demolishing this car park that a fire had devastated and left highly unstable, Paul Clarke’s leadership and innovation were key to delivering on time and to budget. He meticulously managed the complex task of dismantling the structure. He devised a vehicle-removal methodology that satisfied the insurers of the 1,400 cars damaged by the fire. It included filming the entire works and importing a drone from Sweden to film the vehicle where the fire had started without disturbing the site.
About the Project
Liverpool Echo Arena Car Park
Client: Liverpool City Council
Contract: Scape framework
In demolishing this seven-storey car park, Paul Clarke had to manage a site that had much in common with a crime scene. With nearly 1,500 cars parked in the facility damaged or totalled in a fire that had destroyed the structure, an extraordinary level of works monitoring was required.
For a start, all the demolition work had to be filmed to provide the insurers with evidence that no cars had been tampered with. More than 10% of the project budget went on making specialist equipment to recover for forensic analysis the car where the fire had started, without disturbing it in any way, before demolition could begin. Every car’s position in the car park had to be recorded and its condition logged; many had been stripped of all their paint and their number plates had melted. There was even a YouTuber videoing the project on a daily basis and posting the footage online.
Meticulousness was the keynote of Paul’s approach to the extremely complex task of dismantling the highly unstable and hazardous concrete structure. The difficulty was compounded by the need to keep open the still operational Arena venue’s loading bay access ramp from the car park basement. A demolition rig with a 30m-high reach was used to grab the cars and bring them down for removal to a secure location.
Given the close proximity to neighbours and a live substation, Paul had to constantly innovate to dismantle the structure, piece by piece. He brought in a drone from Sweden to get special footage of the car where the fire had started. He had absorbent pads to place the damaged vehicles on (to stop fuel and oil spilling into the ground) custom-made before removing the wrecks from the site.
He brought extensive problem-solving skills to bear on installing the crash decks – a major operation given that so much of the structure was unsafe. He found a way to separate the car park from the Arena (built as a single integrated structure) by installing 550 temporary sacrificial props and saw-cutting the floor slabs so the structures that had to remain would not be damaged. And he installed two 32mm temporary water mains to feed enormous dust-suppressing water cannon.
Delivering on time and to budget on a project with so many structural unknowns at the outset is quite an outcome.